Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Chocolate and Maple Roasted Pecan Cookies

Dainty and delicate afternoon teas have their merits but just give me a big cookie and I will be one happy (gentle)man. Be it chocolate chip, oatmeal and raisin, even plain vanilla I could eat a hat-full and still would go back for just one more. I bake more than most, but when given the option at a cafe or tea room cookies are definitely my favoured choice.

And if you want a reason why, then just try these beauties. Roasting the pecan nuts in just a hint of butter and maple syrup imparts upon them a wonderfully toasty and biscuity flavour, which when combined with syrupy vanilla extract and the deep complexity of dark chocolate results in the very definition of pleasure. I implore you to try them for yourself, you will not be disappointed.

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 12-14 Mins
1/2tbsp Unsalted Butter (Melted)
1tbsp Maple Syrup
100g Pecans (Roughly chopped)

110g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
75g Light Muscovado Sugar
60g Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg Yolk
1tsp Vanilla Extract
120g Plain Flour
1/2tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Salt
100g Dark Chocolate (Chopped)

The first task is to prepare the pecans. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a flat baking tray with baking paper. In a small bowl mix together the melted butter and maple syrup with a mini whisk or fork, then add the chopped pecans. Spread the coated nuts out onto the prepared tray and roast in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they have darkened slightly and smell toasty. It is definitely worth checking about halfway through, giving them a little move about to stop any exposed edges catching. When you are happy they are nicely roasted tip them into a bowl and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.

For the cookies, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line two large, flat baking trays with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and both sugars, then beat in the egg yolk along with the vanilla extract. Add the flour (I don't even sift it) along with the baking powder and salt, then mix to a loose dough. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until evenly distributed.

Take some of the dough and roll into a ball, about the size of a golf ball, then place on one of the trays. Repeat for the rest of the dough, making sure each ball is evenly spaced apart, as they will spread during baking. You should get about 14-15 cookies from the mixture and you can even split the dough into three batches if you want to be safe. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12-14 minutes until light golden and just starting the darken at the edges. You can play about with the timings, depending on if you like your cookies soft and cakey, or crisp and biscuity. When you are happy they are baked remove from the oven and leave on the trays for about 20 minutes, before peeling off and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack, if you can resist that long! 

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